WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning released
KANSAS: Chelsea Manning, the transgender army private jailed for one of the largest leaks of classified documents in United States history, walked out of a military prison yesterday after seven years behind bars.
In July 2010, Manning, then a male soldier known as Bradley, was arrested over the release of a huge trove of more than 700,000 classified military and diplomatic documents via WikiLeaks.
Yesterday, Manning left the prison barracks at Fort Leavenworth here thanks to a commutation of her sentence by Barack Obama before he left office.
Without Obama’s parting gift, Manning, who served as an intelligence official in Iraq, would have remained behind bars until 2045, after serving a 35-year sentence.
Manning’s defence team is intent on protecting her.
Manning had a difficult childhood.
She had to repress her sexuality and was mocked for her effeminate ways.
Therefore, the military is keen on keeping her release lowkey.
Ahead of Manning’s release, a group of musicians released a compilation album with all proceeds to go to the former soldier as she starts a new life.
Hugs for Chelsea, a digital album available for a US$25 (RM108) donation, features tracks by artistes known for their left-wing activism including Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore.